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BGCI Study on CITES and Medicinal Plants

Taxus sp. (Fiona Dennis for BGCI)

Following on from our previous report "Botanic gardens: Using biodiversity to improve human well-being", an exciting study has been carried out in association with BCGI to assess the role of botanic gardens in conserving the medicinal plants listed within CITES.

Medicinal plants are of immense value for primary healthcare and income generation for much of the world's population. The continued unsustainable wild harvest of the most vulnerable species of medicinal plants threatens them with extinction. We therefore face multiple losses; in biodiversity, health and livelihoods. This study aims to assess the extent to which CITES-listed rare and threatened medicinal plant species are in cultivation in botanic gardens around the world and to assess the potential for gardens to assist with sustainable production and management schemes in line with existing legislation.

This project was carried out by Belinda Hawkins, a MSc student at Imperial College London, in association with BGCI.

If you are involved in the cultivation or conservation of CITES-listed medicinal plants, or would like more information about the study, please contact Belinda Hawkins. Alternatively you can contact her by email, c/o or write to Belinda Hawkins, BGCI, Descanso House, 199 Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3BW. We would be very grateful for your help so we can ensure this study is as successful and useful as possible.

Medicinal Plants in CITES

Adonis vernalis
Aloe ferox
Aquilaria spp.
Bletilla striata
Cibotium barometz
Cistanche deserticola
Dendrobium nobile
Dionaea muscipula
Dioscorea deltoidea
Euphorbia antisiphilitica

Gastrodia elata
Gyrinops spp.
Guaiacum coulteri
Guaiacum officinale
Guaiacum sanctum
Hydrastis canadensis
Nardostachys grandiflora
Panax ginseng
Panax quinquefolius

Picrorhiza kurrooa
Podophyllum hexandrum
Prunus africana
Pterocarpus santalinus
Raulvolfia serpentina
Saussurea costus
Taxus chinensis
Taxus cuspidata
Taxus fuana
Taxus sumatrana
Taxus wallichiana

Visit our PlantSearch database to research plants in the world's living collections.




Plants for Life: Medicinal Plants Under Threat

BGCI has published the findings of a year-long investigation into the state of medicinal plants around the world.


CITES Manual for Botanic Gardens: Second Edition

Botanic gardens have a key role in implementing CITES, which aims to protect rare species from trading activities. This revised and updated Manual reflects the evolution of CITES itself since 1994, when this pamphlet was first published. PDF download available now, in English and Spanish.


BGCI Continues with Medicinal Plant Conservation

Having highlighted some important focal points with our CITES and Medicinal Plants project, BGCI is continuing it's work in this field in association with both the IUCN's Medicinal Plants Specialist Group (MPSG) and the Medicinal Plants Working Group (MPWG) of the Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA).


CITES and Medicinal Plants Study: A Summary of Findings

BGCI is working to link plant conservation with improvements in human well-being through a new project for threatened medicinal species to help ensure on-going access to vital plant resources. Medicinal plant displays are popular features in gardens, who also contribute research and other services.


Medicinal Plants - Nature Palace Foundation, Uganda
NFP in Uganda are involved in a project with BGCI of strengthening community collaboration through joint strategic planning with a focus of cultivating essential medicinal plants for income and health promotion at household level. Download this PDF to find out more.
The Evolution of CITES - W. Wijnstekers (2006)
This comprehensive publication presents a history of the evolution of cites. It begins with the basics and guides the reader through its complex structure. The provisions of the convention are clearly highlighted in the book, and the numerous resolutions and decisions are explained.